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Festival of short LGBT plays addresses marriage and more

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 25, 2013 - “Are you married?” is a question most of us are asked throughout our adult lives. Sometimes, the answer involves much more than a simple “yes” or “no.” Same-sex couples might reply with “Yes, in Iowa” or “Well, we had a commitment ceremony,” or “Umm, no” when they really are married in Canada, but they just don't feel comfortable coming out.

Some heterosexual pairs are waiting until gays and lesbians can legally marry before tying their own knot, making their answers complicated as well. Other heterosexual couples choose to not make their relationship legal for myriad other reasons, which may also require an explanation.

The play “Are You Married?” portrays a lesbian grappling with that question as she faces a breast cancer scare. She worries that the answer could affect her treatment.

Written by That Uppity Theatre Company's Joan Lipkin, it's one of seven offerings of “Briefs: A Festival of Short LGBT Plays,” opening Thursday, Feb. 28. Others include "Lady and the Tramp," performed by burlesque queen Lola van Ella and Sammy the Tramp, and "Surprise," written by cabaret singer/pediatrician Ken Haller.

The second annual “Briefs,” a collaboration of That Uppity and The Vital VOICE, run through March 3 at La Perla event space. Some tickets are still available but last year's "Briefs" performances all sold out.

“Briefs” stretches far beyond the stage — and even St. Louis. A health-care agency is considering taping “Are You Married?” as a teaching tool, according to Lipkin. And Georgia State University is planning to stage its own LGBT play festival, inspired by Lipkin’s presentation at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education conference in Washington, D.C.

“Briefs” is offering two special gatherings in connection with the festival. On Thursday, Feb. 28, local youth may attend a reduced-cost preview and pizza party. On Sunday, March 3, LGBT seniors and their friends are invited to a complimentary brunch following the final matinee.

Listen to Joan Likpin and "Waiting for the Skell" director Bonnie Taylor talk about "Briefs" on St. Louis Public Radio's Cityscape.

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.